Dave gave me a tagine for Christmas and ever since I’ve been itching to make some Moroccan food, such as this carrot and chickpea salad with harissa. To make this happen, I naturally decided to make an epic feast and invite friends over, to christen my new tagine cooking vessel. For those that aren’t familiar, a tagine is basically a conical shaped clay pot. The cooking method involved is basically the same as a braise, but the Tagine is so much prettier! If you don’t have a tagine, I’m sure braising in a regular pot would be just fine. One only has so much storage in one’s kitchen, and to be honest I have yet to find a home for my new pot in our small kitchen. Alas.
Another inspiration for this meal… we happen to have an AMAZING Moroccan restaurant here in San Diego, called KousKous. It’s located in Hillcrest on 4th Avenue, if any San Diego-ans (?) want to check it out. I went to KousKous within the first month of living here and I can’t get it out of my head. They serve Moroccan style tapas, in addition to more traditional main courses. I became addicted to these amazing carrot appetizers, mixed with their homemade harissa.
So. damn. good.
(Confession: I actually went to KousKous yesterday and bought some of their homemade harissa, since I love it so much. Spicy, garlicky, tangy. It’s basically the moroccan version of sriracha, but is so much better, in my opinion).
So on that note, I decided to make my version of KousKous’ carrot appetizer. The tagine has yet to finish, so I apologize for those who are waiting with baited breath for a recipe and photos of fragrant chicken stew. You will have to settle for a recipe about vegetables. Trust me, it’s worth it.
For this recipe for Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Harissa, you want to start with fresh, whole carrots- no baby carrots here- the flavor will be so much better. Trust me.
Bring to a boil for a few minutes until they are tender, but still have some “bite” to the texture.This is what preserved lemons look like. I got these from Sur La Table. They used to have them at Williams Sonoma, but I haven’t seen them there recently. You can also sometimes get them at middle eastern grocery stores and definitely off amazon.com. If you absolutely don’t want to put forth effort getting these, just make sure you add extra salt to the recipe and a dash of lemon juice.
TThis is the delicious harissa from KousKous. This is the key ingredient here. You should be able to find this a bit more easily at WholeFoods or other gourmet grocery stores. Alternatively you can make it yourself. Epicurious has a legit sounding recipe, although I have to confess I haven’t made it myself.
Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Harissa
- 7 medium Carrots peeled and cut into about 1/2-3/4 inch rounds
- 1 cup Cooked Chickpeas (canned or fresh)
- 2 tbsp Prepared Harissa
- 1/2 Preserved Lemon minced
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Cilantro (to taste)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Boil chopped carrots for about 5 minutes, or until they are "al dente" texture. Immediately drain and rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking.
- Add cooled carrots and chickpeas to a mixing bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients to the carrots and chickpeas and toss well to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.